Carnival of the Animals is a great lesson for second grade. Students are learning about animals and their habitats in their science classes, so why not expand that knowledge with music. Each song for Carnival of the Animals was written for a particular animal. The composer did a fantastic job of imitating the spirit of each animal with his music.
Each Spring, I teach my students about Carnival of the Animals. They color packets while they watch videos with images of the animals set to the composer's original music. We discuss the elements of music (long/short, fast/slow, soft/loud, high/low) to discover how the composer makes the animals sound the way they do through the music.
Follow the links to the lesson plan, a packet to accompany the unit, and all of the videos I made online. If you have SMART Response Clickers, here is the clicker test that I use to assess the students at the end of the unit.